February 5th marks the official start of the Chinese New Year, and the year of the Pig. What will this auspicious animal bring to the new year?
The Character of the Pig
It’s impossible to say for certain, but perhaps we can take comfort in the fact that the pig is regarded as a symbol of wealth and fortune. He is not, however, regarded for his mental capacity. In China, the view is often held, that pigs are rather dim. They are notoriously lazy, greedy, dirty and gluttonous; spending their days eating and sleeping.
But before this became their famed quality, pigs (boars specifically), were revered throughout Asia and Europe for their fierce strength and force. Although shy, wild boars can be immensely dangerous; ferociously protective parents, they will fight until the end to protect their young. In this regard, the boar is a symbol of courage and strength.
Those born in the year of the pig are said to be filled with compassion and charity, and care deeply for their families. Of course, certain qualities and characteristics differ, according to the year and element of your birth. But more on that to come…
The Legend of the Zodiac
According to legend, the Jade Emperor (a primordial god) held a competition to determine the 12 animals to be placed in the zodiac. They were to be his personal guards, and the guardians of the Heavenly Gate. The first 12 animals to arrive at his Palace gates, would secure their place in the Zodiac Calendar. The pig, conscious of his portly size and slow pace, began his journey the night before, but he faced many obstacles along the way. By the time he had arrived, there was just one spot left.
(in case you were curious, the tiny rat arrived first – hitching a ride on the ox’s back. Next came the speedy tiger and rabbit, followed by the dragon, snake, horse, goat, monkey, rooster, and dog).
As the story goes, the Pig (or boar) is the 12th and final animal in the Chinese Zodiac, closing the celestial circle. In this sense, many view the year of the pig as a time of completion and closure.
The 5 Elements and the 5 Signs of the Pig
In the Chinese Zodiac, your sign is granted based on the year of your birth. 12 animals transmit to 12 different signs, and a cycle of 12 years. Each animal carries a set of definable qualities that are mirrored in the person born under that year. But there is still more that defines the qualities of person’s character.
In Chinese culture, there are five elements: fire, water, earth, wood and metal (gold). This extends the zodiac cycle to 60 years. Each year a new animal takes the stage, it will represent one of the five elements.
For instance, 2019 is the year of the Pig, but more specific than that, 2019 is the year of the Earth Pig.
The Earth Pig then, is a sign that comes around once every 60 years.
People born in the following years were all born in the year of the Pig: 1935, 1947, 1959, 1971, 1983, 1995, 2007 and 2019
Did You Know Your Zodiac Year is Bad Luck?
Sad but true, if you were born in the year of the Pig then I have some bad news. The benming (year of your zodiac animal) is very unlucky. The folk tales say, that these are vulnerable times. Since the benming is your rebirth year, you are more susceptible to bad fortune and evil (children can even be stolen by demons). How can you ward off the bad luck? Red my friend, red is about to become your new favourite colour. In China, red is a colour of good luck and fortune. Wearing red clothes and jewellery will protect you from all things bad in the months to come.